Tag Archives: Ephesians 2
July 22, 2017 by jmar198013
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July 19, 2015 by jmar198013
What about these people ignited compassion in Jesus? They were like sheep without a shepherd. Now, that’s a pretty heart-wrenching image, isn’t it? We understand that this means they’re lost, directionless, vulnerable to attack by predators. What we might not understand is that, in the world of the Bible, the phrase sheep without a shepherd is loaded with significance. It is a politically-charged phrase, an indictment of failed leadership.
In fact, one of the most bitter judgments in Scripture about corrupt leadership trades exclusively in the metaphor of bad shepherds. Ezekiel 34.2ff says: “Doom to Israel’s shepherds who tended themselves! You drink the milk, you wear the wool, and you slaughter the fat animals, but you don’t tend the flock. You don’t strengthen the weak, heal the sick, bind up the injured, bring back the strays, or seek out the lost; but instead you use force to rule them with injustice. Without a shepherd, my flock was scattered; and when it was scattered, it became food for all the wild animals.” So when Jesus, the “Son of David”—the shepherd who became king—encountered this crowd of people at the end of their collective rope, I suspect he had an Ezekiel 34 moment. He was obviously heartbroken, but I think he was also outraged. Every framework, every structure, every safety net God had put in place to protect his people; to ensure justice and prosperity and peace; to promote the flourishing of human life—they’d all been compromised.
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April 29, 2013 by jmar198013
In reading the second chapter of Paul’s Ephesian letter, Protestant interpreters have historically been most interested in vv8-9, where Paul says we have been saved by grace through faith. The assumption behind emphasizing these verses is that Paul means individual salvation from sins. But if we attend carefully to Ephesians 2 as a literary unit, it tells a different story, which Stanley Hauerwas describes in these terms: “All are called to salvation as individuals, but the salvation itself is the socially embodied life of a community that knows it lives by forgiveness.” The church is that community that lives by forgiveness, and our life together is based on Paul’s claim that “Jesus is our peace” (Eph. 2.14). If in the church we are still divided by barriers of hatred, then who can be saved?